Synopsis of Justified 6.04 “The Trash and the Snake” from the FX network’s Website: Raylan declares war on the deadly men who are forcing Harlan’s most valuable real estate to change hands, while Boyd and Duffy seek out a crackpot safecracker to help do their dirty work. This episode has very little action in it. It’s mostly a series of conversations between various characters—conversations that either move the season’s story line along or that create intriguing problems within the various subplots. The only “action” scene in the episode involves Boyd Crowder, Wynn Duffy, and safecracking expert Lewis “The Wiz” Mago. It’s not much of an action scene, but it is a startling and darkly humorous scene. Wynn and Boyd need “The Wiz” to break into the former bank vault in Avery Markham’s pizza restaurant. As a demolition expert in the army, Boyd believed he could use Emulex to blast his way into the vault that has a 16-inch steel door, but The Wiz laughs at Boyd’s foolishness (and you may know how much Boyd loves to be laughed at)—so Boyd then asks, “C-4?” “No, Man. I’m talkin’ like C . . . 11, Dude. New military issue”—the stuff that only the Wiz has. There doesn’t seem to be an actual explosive called C-11 (at least I couldn’t find a reference to such a substance when I Googled it), and we don’t know how The Wiz is able to get such explosives. Essentially, The Wiz is a nutcase goof who reminded me of Gary Busey after his motorcycle accident that resulted in “causing him to speak and act impulsively.” You may have seen him in an Amazon commercial trying to plug a seashell into the USB port on a Smart TV. In writing this review, I suddenly realized why The Wiz reminded me of Gary Busey; the character is played by Busey’s son, Jake. Apparently, Jake channeled a bit of his post-accident father for his character on Justified. Anyway, The Wiz takes Boyd and Wynn to an isolated warehouse he uses. As they get out of the car, Boyd and Wynn have to hand their cell phones over before The Wiz begins to work on a vault identical to Markham’s. Then, as he is about to demonstrate how the explosive material that only he has (outside the US military) will blow a hole through “16 inches of Youngstown steel” a cell phone suddenly rings. After a second of confusion, The Wiz realizes it’s his own phone, and the look on his face as he grasps that he forgot to turn off his own phone is great . . . but it’s not as great as looking upon the faces of Boyd and Wynn a second later. . . . In terms of verisimilitude, the scene fails; it’s not believable that a powerful military explosive that will blow a hole through 16 inches of steel doesn’t even knock Boyd and Wynn off their feet as they stood only 50 feet away from the detonation point of the blast. Still, it’s a shocking and darkly humorous scene that I replayed a few times to repeat my amusement. As I mentioned, though, other than that one scene, there isn’t any “action” in this episode—just several conversations that move the various plots along. The three most important conversations occur between Raylan and Art, Ava and Katherine, and Raylan and legendary Kentucky gangster Avery Markham. The conversation between Raylan and Chief Deputy Marshal Art Mullen seems insignificant on the surface, but it’s the conversation from which the title of the episode, “The Trash and the Snake,” is taken—and it involves possible foreshadowing of the series-ending conclusion that is now only nine episodes away. In this scene, Raylan is visiting Art to get information about Markham—a man Art dealt with years ago. In his collection of evidence against Boyd for the RICO case the US government is building, Raylan has uncovered Markham’s attempt to buy all the prime farmland in Harlan County, Kentucky. Raylan is supposed to simply gather evidence that can convict Boyd so that he (Raylan) can then join his ex-wife and their infant daughter in Florida and live happily ever after: Art: When you stray from the trail, Raylan, that’s when you get lost. Raylan: I know that, Art. I do, but somethin’s pulling me on. Art: Uh-huh. Somethin’s pulling you away from nailin’ Boyd and gettin’ down to Florida. Raylan: When your mama tells you to take out the trash, you do as she says, but if you see a copperhead on the way out . . . you don’t go back inside and say you didn’t do nothin’ because all she asked was to take out the trash. You take out the trash and the snake. Art: Didn’t your mama ever tell you that there’s always another snake? Obviously, in this “trash and snake” analogy, Boyd Crowder is the trash and Avery Markham is the snake—and it’s a fitting analogy in that Boyd has been presented throughout the series as “poor white trash” who has been trying to raise his station in life by educating himself about the world and by getting that one big score that will set up him and Ava in luxurious style. Similarly, Markham is the snake—as he looks a bit reptilian with his wrinkled, leathery skin and his sinister, sideways smile. To stretch the serpent analogy, if Markham is the Serpent who has slithered into Harlan County to buy up the best farmland before the state legalizes marijuana, then Katherine Hale is the temptress who cheated on her husband with the snake years ago and who is now seeking revenge on Markham who betrayed Katherine’s husband and sent him to prison—causing Katherine to lose political power within the organized crime community.* Katherine’s conversation with Ava is more than a mere chat over lunch. In watching the two women interact, it’s clear that under different circumstances Ava might have been Katherine’s protégé—learning how to wield feminine power within the masculine world of organized crime. Unfortunately for Ava, Katherine suspects that Ava’s release from prison at the end of the previous season was too easy; she correctly suspects that Ava’s release was contrived by the US Justice Department after Ava agreed to become a confidential informant and spy on Boyd. While Katherine doesn’t have specific proof against Ava, she has enough of a suspicious mind for us to know that Ava’s life is at risk—a fact that Ava also realizes as she begins to panic immediately after leaving her lunch date with Katherine. The third significant conversation in the episode occurs between Raylan and Markham in Loretta McCready’s house. It’s too complicated here to explain exactly who Loretta is other than to say she is a bright and witty high school girl who Raylan protects like a younger sister. Additionally, Loretta is set on becoming the queen of marijuana distribution in Kentucky as she gets older. In that role of eventually becoming the marijuana queen of Kentucky, Loretta purchased all of the Bennett family’s farmland from Dickie Bennett (marijuana being the main cash crop of the Bennett family). Thus, Markham wants Loretta’s land, so Ty Walker pays Loretta a visit to double their original offer for the land—which is enough money, Walker tells her, for Loretta to burn through half and still never have to work a day in her life as long as she invests wisely with the other half. At that point, Loretta seems to want to mull over the offer—though anyone who knows Loretta knows she will reject it, as she has made it her life’s goal to be the marijuana queen and she knows she owns prime marijuana-growing farmland. When she then offers Walker a drink of Mags Bennett’s “apple pie” moonshine served in a Mason jar, longtime fans of the show will wonder if Walker’s life could be ending so soon. However, it is at that point that Raylan and Gutterson show up at the door—half expecting to find Walker in the house. After a standoff in which both Raylan and Walker appear to be ready to draw their weapons and open fire across Loretta’s living room, Walker takes out his cell phone and calls Markham to explain the situation with Loretta. After Markham shows up, he, Loretta, and Raylan sit down at the dining room table and have a civil-but-tense discussion. One of the first things Markham does is ask Walker if he can drink the apple pie ’shine that Loretta poured for him. Of course, Walker allows Markham to have his drink, but before he partakes Markham has Loretta sample a taste of it first. Once he’s satisfied with Loretta’s taste test, Markham enjoys Mags Bennett’s apple pie. Raylan instantly knows that Markham has done his homework on who he’s dealing with and how things might play out. Markham is a man who considers all paths and obstacles, and he then navigates his course accordingly. He’s who Boyd could become if Boyd would ever hit the bigtime score and acquire real political and economic power. As the tension between Markham and Raylan tightens during their conversation, the inevitable stare down takes place—and neither one truly blinks in this game of visual and verbal chicken as their steely eyes lock in on the others without wavering: Markham: First you turn me down, now this; what’s next? Third time. You gonna tell me that by the power vested in you there’s somethin’ else I ain’t allowed to do? This is still America, last time I checked the flagpole. Raylan: What’s next is entirely based on the next choice you make. After staring at each other intently for a tense eight- or nine-second span, Markham takes out a joint and lights up to see if Raylan will haul him in for smoking pot—to which Raylan says, “No, not for weed; I can assure you of that.” No, Raylan’s going to get Markham on something more meaningful than smoking a joint. He’s going to try to implicate Markham in the murders of Mr. and Mrs. Hutchins—the couple who refused both of the offers to sell their land to Walker and who subsequently died of carbon monoxide poisoning in their home—a house that Raylan and Gutterson discovered had been sealed with tape and plastic after they find the residue on the windows and doors. Raylan knew Mrs. Hutchins because she was the high school English teacher in Harlan—and Gutterson and Raylan then have an interesting conversation about her while they inspect the Hutchins’s home: Tim Gutterson: When you gonna tell me? Raylan: What? Gutterson: The story of Mrs. Hutchins. She the teacher who cared? Did she water little Raylan so he could blossom? Raylan: I hated her; she hated English. She nearly turned me off of books. The only thing she taught me was don’t do a job just for money. Let me get this straight! Mrs. Hutchins was the high school English teacher who hated teaching English so much that she nearly caused Raylan to hate books? From her Raylan learned not to do a job just for the money—such as Mrs. Hutchins apparently did with her job that she hated? Just how the hell much money are high school English teachers getting paid in Harlan, Kentucky! I need to move there so I can get a lot of money for teaching English! *** Finally, a week ago, with my review of Justified 6.03 “Noblesse Oblige,” Psycho Drive-In’s managing editor, Paul “The Real Beard” McCoy, facetiously instructed me to pay more attention to reviewing the facial hair of characters—a directive I have facetiously followed this past week with my reviews of The Americans and The Musketeers. I am ending my reviews of facial hair with this review, as I have now come full circle back to Justified. First, what’s up with Avery Markham’s (Sam Elliot’s) eyebrows? Is he dying those suckers black while keeping his full head of hair white? Is he going for a chiaroscuro effect or what? Second, what’s up with Raylan’s Van Dyke? It never seems to fill in. It’s always in a state of two-day stubble. Lastly, what can I say about Ty Walker’s beard that Raylan didn’t say much better in this very episode when he was asking Ava about him? Raylan: Dyed hair? Bushy beard? * There is also another Biblical (or Torah/Talmud) connection with respect to Avery Markham and Katherine Hale; Markham’s last name could symbolize that he has the Mark of Ham on him—Ham being the son of Noah who was cursed for an undisclosed offense against his father. Various interpretations of the offense include Ham either sodomizing his father or raping Noah’s wife (Ham’s own mother?): “And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him” (Geneis 9:24). In Markham’s case, he was having an affair with Katherine—the wife of his business partner. Whatever his offense was in the Biblical account, Ham was cursed through his fourth son, Canaan—and Avery Markham’s surname might indicate some sort of symbolic association with that Biblical tale. Justified 6.04 “The Trash and the Snake”3.5Overall ScoreReader Rating: (1 Vote)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related 2 Responses Justified 6.08 “Dark as a Dungeon” - Psycho Drive-In March 17, 2015 […] Another area where this season has downplayed the tension is in Raylan’s involvement in Markham’s real estate plans. Obviously, unless we’re discussing David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross, real estate deals are not normally the focal point of dramatic tension. However, even the usual melodramatic tension between a law-enforcement officer and a bigshot gangster has been mostly nonexistent in the scenes with Raylan and Markham—save for the dramatic stare down they had in “The Trash and the Snake” (6.04). […] Log in to Reply Justified 6.09 “Burned” - Psycho Drive-In March 24, 2015 […] contest between Raylan and Avery Markham in Loretta McCready’s kitchen, which I wrote about in my review of “The Trash and the Snake” […] Log in to Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.